How to Buy an Adorable Tutu

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How to Buy an Adorable Tutu

The tutu as a garment has its origins in the illustrious sphere of classical ballet. Gracing the world’s stages in such memorable ballets as Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, the tutu became the costume of choice to offset the ballerina’s movements. Limbs are freed and hence the extensions of leg and arm which typify the dance movements are given emphasis.

Balletic associations are just one of the reasons why little girls adore a tutu. The tutu is also synonymous in the wearer’s mind with such symbols as a ‘princess’. There are few girls growing up who do not glow at the idea of being a princess. And few parents cannot resist yielding to their daughter’s wish at least on her birthday to create for her that special identity.

Tutus also bring out the party lover in every young girl. Their frills, frivolity, and general cuteness make the wearer feel confident, lighthearted and, let’s face it, ‘in’ with the crowd, since virtually all the little girls at the party will arrive dressed in tutus of their own.

An Introduction to the Tutu

The term ‘tutu’ is derived from the French infantile term for ‘behind’ or bottom, this being the area of the body to which the tutu skirt draws attention. This essential ‘uniform’ of the female ballet dancer began life in the middle of the 19th century. Then, it has effectively performed a technical, rather than decorative, function, which is to display to the audience the ballerinas’ dazzling footwork and stretches. Now, tutus are all about feeling fabulous.

While different lengths of skirt and different degrees of stiffness in the material soon evolved, the basic design comprises a fairly deep waistband ending at the top of the hips then joining on to a skirt of netting or other lightweight relatively transparent material. The essential point is that the skirt fans out to one degree or another. In the most extreme version the platter tutu, the skirt sticks out at an angle of 90 degrees. The skirt is worn with a tight-fitting bodice which is optionally sleeveless and which in some cases is part of the same garment. In modern times, the bodice tends to be a ‘body’, a garment made from stretch fabric and resembling a one-piece swimsuit.

Today’s shopper can easily find tutus on sale online. eBay, for example, hosts an ever-changing cavalcade of adorable tutus. Stockists also include the children’s departments of many high street chains. Some towns also have dedicated childrens wear stores. The selection on sale in any one outlet is necessarily limited. Lastly, dancewear shops sell tutus, sometimes at a higher cost. This guide will help to explain the four factors to take into account when looking to purchase a tutu: colour, material, size, and accessories.

Choosing the Best Colour Tutu

Colour options for tutus are as vast as the imagination can picture. The age of the wearer and the nature of the occasion are worth taking into consideration. If the tutu is part of a costume for a show or dance performance, then almost certainly, its colour is already dictated and the challenge for the shopper is to match accurately the director’s dictates. For a little girl’s birthday party, where all the female guests are likely to present an array of froth, a shade that is neither too dazzling nor too subtle should strike the right note. A mermaid hue, such as a pale turquoise, or a spring colour, like daffodil yellow, will stand out as a little more individual than the more predictable bright pinks. On the other hand, a party is a great excuse for really going to town on the look to outshine every other guest, so a multi-coloured rainbow tutu with all the trimmings may be just the answer.

Tiny tots look cherubic in ballerina tutus, which often appear prettiest in baby pastels, or in white or the shade of ivory and what better way to show off a baby girl at a parent and toddler gathering? At the other end of the scale, tutus especially for Halloween form a class of their own. These may be in solid black, or in black with red or deep pink trim. The Christmas tutu is often a humorous statement, a take on the Santa Claus outfit, or else it is the greatest excuse yet to flounce in sequinned frills to rival the fairy on top of the tree.

For general party wear or dressing up, the young miss in her early teens might favour the fluorescent or neon colours available, or alternatively the subtler, ‘shabby’ shades such as old rose or dusty green. A more recent development is the tutu skirt attached to leggings for outdoor wear with trainers or boots, making an ironic statement. Natural, autumnal shades can look great also. In any or all of the colourways mentioned, there exists also the possibility that the various layers of the tutu are each in a different colour.

Tutu Materials

Synthetic fabrics are by far the most common and most practicable for tutu manufacture. All-in-one outfits are often composed of Spandex, as with much sportswear. Polyester and cotton are often components. The great advantage is that it allows for maximum stretch. The bodice may additionally have lace and ribbon decoration. For the netting of the skirt, tulle made from silk is the most natural fabric; it is, however, extremely fragile. Usually, nylon or rayon tulle forms the netting. For maximum stiffness; the skirt material may also have been starched.

When considering a purchase, the buyer should look closely at the list of materials involved and should note the washing instructions.

Choosing the Correct Size Tutu

When considering sizing, the almost universal two standards for children’s clothing in the United Kingdom apply: these are age and height (in centimetres).

Approximate Age

Height (cm)

0 - 3 months


3 - 6 months


6 - 12 months


1 year


2 years


3 years


4 years


5 years


6 years


8 years


10 years


12 years


14 years


16 years +


Many manufacturers give a size which straddles two ages, for example: 13 to 14 years, hence it is important to arm oneself with the wearer’s actual measurements Trying on, where possible, is the ideal method of ensuring a correct fit, although, even then, in the excitement of the moment, errors of judgement are not uncommon. These can be corrected by taking advantage of one’s statutory right to return and exchange goods at the store where they were purchases or a branch of the chain. It is not always convenient to make such return trips, however, and this is one of the reasons why many purchasers choose to shop online.

Additional Considerations

When purchasing a tutu, style, size, and material are all important factors in the buying process. Additional considerations include comfort and accessories, which are mentioned below.


Besides obtaining the correct numerical size, the sensation of comfort needs to be taken into consideration. While the tutu is by no means a loose-fitting garment, the tightness at the waist and over the upper part of the hips needs to be not so great as to cause discomfort. However, the appearance subsequently of an indentation in the skin around the waist is to be expected. There should be no cutting in, however.

Accessorising the Tutu

The obvious accompaniment to an adorable tutu is the tiara, that glittering head adornment hankered after by virtually every small girl. Inexpensive plastic tiaras can be chosen, especially if they are likely to live in the toy box, or to become part of the dressing-up collection. Classy, all pearl hair-bands are as sophisticated alternative. In order to ring the changes, hair bows are another option, either matching (sometimes available as part of the tutu outfit) or else complementing the tutu itself.

Tights add to the ballerina impression and can be purchased in any one of the same myriad range of colours that characterise tutus. An example of these, the 40 denier tights provide an ideal level of opacity. When dressing up the tutu, matching fishnet gloves, party hair bands with or without cute ears, and leg warmers are just some of the possible ideas. Ballet pumps, flip flops, patent party pumps or plimsolls can work well as suitable footwear. In the winter, a fluffy or fleece gilet can add warmth to the upper body. There is little doubt that the young object of all the attention will have her own views about the best way to give her tutu that extra final touch.

How to Buy an Adorable Tutu on eBay

Experienced eBay sellers target the most appropriate category for their listing, so, for example, tutus specifically intended for ballet make their appearance within Dancewear & Accessories. eBay is the place to look for inexpensive fashion tutus, produced with children in mind. If you would like to narrow your search, you can do so according to size, colour, and fabric. For example, typing "age 8 pink voile tutu" and checking the ‘include description’ box in eBay will produce a more manageable list of items. One way to solve the problem of what to wear with the tutu, and often a means of saving a little money, is to search for a tutu/leotard, where the skirt is attached to the bodice and to the knickers.

eBay allows you to sort results according to price, time ending, condition and distance, the last being relevant when collection in person is desired. Responsible sellers also provide actual measurements, normally including circumference of waistband, depth of waistband and overall length. The seller’s rating can also be seen, giving an indication of past performance. Armed with the full description and price, you can now make your decision.


Youth is the ideal time to explore the world of dressing-up. It is the time for playing with looks that in real life are but a fantasy; fairytale princesses sadly never existed and in real life no-one actually meets members of the Fairy Kingdom. None of this prevents parents from indulging their daughters’ whims and allowing them the occasional treat of a tutu and its accompaniments. Childhood inevitably fades into the past. The moments that stand out are parties, holiday celebrations and rare appearances under the spotlight. Fortunate is the little girl who has experienced those moments dressed as a princess.

By the same token, there are fewer pleasures for a parent greater than that of seeing his or her offspring perform as part of a show, whether as a skater, dancer or member of the chorus. And for girls, the very garment that those productions call for is the adorable tutu, its jutting skirts lifting the wearer up to a more ethereal plane.

Never has there been a more propitious time for tutu buying; the inventiveness of the designs and colour combinations available is matched only by the competitiveness in pricing. A mere glance online will reveal the treasure store that awaits.

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